Archive for January 21st, 2011

January 21, 2011

Ekranoplan

ekranoplan

A ekranoplan, or ground effect vehicle (GEV), is a craft that attains level flight near the surface of the Earth, made possible by a cushion of high-pressure air created by the aerodynamic interaction between the wings and the surface known as ground effect. Also known as a wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) vehicle, flarecraft, sea skimmer, SkimMachine, or wing-in-surface-effect ship, a GEV can be seen as a transition between a hovercraft and an aircraft. However, the International Maritime Organization has classified the GEV as a ship.

January 21, 2011

Plastination

body worlds

Plastination is a technique used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most properties of the original sample. There are four steps in the standard process of plastination: fixation, dehydration, forced impregnation in a vacuum, and hardening. Water and lipid tissues are replaced by curable polymers. Curable polymers used by plastination include silicone, epoxy and polyester-copolymer.

Fixation simply means that the body is embalmed, usually in a formaldehyde solution, in order to halt decomposition. After any necessary dissections take place, the specimen is then placed in a bath of acetone. Under freezing conditions, the acetone draws out all the water and replaces it inside the cells. The specimen is then placed in a bath of liquid polymer, such as silicone rubber, polyester or epoxy resin. By creating a vacuum, the acetone is made to boil at a low temperature. As the acetone vaporizes and leaves the cells, it draws the liquid polymer in behind it, leaving a cell filled with liquid plastic. The plastic must then be cured with gas, heat, or ultraviolet light, in order to harden it.

January 21, 2011

Fractal

fractal

A fractal [frak-tl] is any equation or pattern, that when seen as an image, produces a picture, which can be zoomed into infinity and will still produce the same picture. The word fractal was made by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975 from the Latin word fractus, which means ‘broken’ or ‘fractured.’ Some fractals exist only for artistic reasons, but others are very useful. Fractals are very efficient shapes for radio antennas and are used in computer chips to efficiently connect all the components.

A simple example is a tree that branches infinitely into smaller branches, and those branches into smaller branches and so on. Fractals are not only beautiful, but also have many practical applications. There are many types of fractals, made in a large variety of ways. There are also many natural examples of fractals in nature including trees, snowflakes, some vegetables and coastlines.

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January 21, 2011

Pantone

Pantone is a corporation headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey, best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), a proprietary color space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, though sometimes in the manufacture of colored paint, fabric, and plastics. The idea behind the PMS is to allow designers to ‘color match’ specific colors when a design enters production stage—regardless of the equipment used to produce the color.

The company provides Pantone Guides, which consist of a large number of small (approximately 6×2 inches or 15×5 cm) thin cardboard sheets, printed on one side with a series of related color swatches and then bound into a small ‘fan deck.’ Pantone recommends that PMS Color Guides be purchased annually as their inks become more yellow over time. Color variance also occurs within editions based on the paper stock used (coated, matte or uncoated), while interedition color variance occurs when there are changes to the specific paper stock used.

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January 21, 2011

Disco Ball

disco ball

A disco ball is a decorative object that reflects light directed at it in many directions, producing a complex display. Its surface consists of hundreds or thousands of mirrored facets, nearly all of approximately the same shape and size. Usually it is suspended from a device that causes it to rotate steadily on a vertical axis, and illuminated by spotlights. What are now sometimes called ‘disco balls’ were first widely used in nightclubs in the 1920s. They were already in existence and use before then, appearing in a description of a ballroom dance in 1897 in Boston. An early example can be seen in the nightclub sequence of ‘Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt,’ a German silent film from 1927.

Pink Floyd used a glitter ball on their 1987 and 1994 world tours. The glitter ball used on the 1987 tour was somewhat larger than normal but nowhere near as large as the glitter ball used on the 1994 tour. This particular glitter ball is one of the largest in the world at 16 feet in diameter. Madonna used a 2-ton glitter ball that was embellished by 2 million dollars’ worth of Swarovski crystals for her Confessions Tour in 2006. The world’s largest disco ball can be found on the promenade in Blackpool, United Kingdom; it weighs 4.5 tons and is 20 feet in diameter. With the emergence of infrared networks, glitter balls have found a new application, as a method of dispersing the infrared signals.

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January 21, 2011

Snow Roller

Snow roller

A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown along the ground by wind, picking up material along the way. Unlike snowballs made by people, snow rollers are typically cylindrical in shape, and are often hollow since the inner layers, which are the first layers to form, are weak and thin compared to the outer layers and can easily be blown away, leaving what looks like a doughnut or Swiss roll.

Snow rollers have been seen to grow as large as two feet in diameter, but in order for them to form the ground must be covered by a layer of ice to which snow will not stick (it must be covered by wet, loose snow with a temperature near melting). The wind must be strong enough to move the snow rollers, but not strong enough to blow them too fast. Alternatively, gravity can move the snow rollers on steep hill.

January 21, 2011

Urban Chicken

eglu

An Urban chicken or backyard chicken is a chicken kept in a city. The primary reasons for keeping chickens are the food and income made by selling the eggs and meat. Other reasons include use in ceremonies and as gifts or even as pets. Keeping chickens in an urban environment is associated with the ‘Urban Agriculture Movement,’ which is the growing practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in cities.

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January 21, 2011

Technics SL-1200

technics

The Technics SL-1200 are a series of turntables manufactured since October 1972 by Matsushita under the brand name of Technics. Originally released as a high fidelity consumer record player, it quickly became adopted among radio and club disc jockeys. Since its release in 1978, SL-1200MK2 and its successors have been the most common turntable for DJing and scratching.

The MK2 presented several improvements, including to the motor and casing. Since 1972, more than 3 million units have been sold. It is widely regarded as one of the most durable and reliable turntables ever produced. Many of the models manufactured in the 1970s are still in heavy use. In the autumn of 2010, Panasonic announced that the series was to be discontinued due to marketplace conditions.

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January 21, 2011

David Elsewhere

David Elsewhere

David Elsewhere (b. 1979) is an illusionary dancer from Santa Ana, California. He became known through a viral video of his participation in the 2001 edition of the Korean American talent show ‘Kollaboration,’ dancing to Kraftwerk’s song ‘Expo 2000.’ The clip showcased Bernal’s characteristic take on the contemporary dance styles of popping and abstract waving. Performances of these dances were rare at the time, and the clip became very popular when it circulated on the internet.

Bernal was later hired to participate in advertisements for Heineken (dancing to ‘Cobrastyle’ by the Teddybears), Volkswagen, Apple iPod, 7-Eleven Slurpee, Pepsi, Puma, and Doritos. He also made a cameo appearance in the movie ‘You Got Served.’ Computer graphics technology were used in several of the commercials Bernal took part in, superimposing others’ faces (old, young, male, female) onto his body so that they appeared to dance like him. In one of his most popular ads, a commercial for the Volkswagen Golf GTI created in January of 2005, Gene Kelly’s head was superimposed onto Bernal’s body in a re-enactment of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ remixed by Manchester group Mint Royale.

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January 21, 2011

The Book of Mormon

the book of mormon

The Book of Mormon is a musical written by South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Avenue Q writer, Robert Lopez. The show tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread their faith in a dangerous part of Uganda. Scott Rudin and Anne Garafino are listed as the producers. The show debuted on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in 2011.

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